Curriculum


The school uses the National Curriculum 2014 as a basis for all schemes of work. Curriculum overviews can be found on a separate page. Further details about each term’s work can be found in individual class teacher’s termly curriculum letters; these are sent out to parents at the start of each term.

At Crosscanonby St John's C of E primary we have designed our curriculum in a way that allows us to recognise our children’s prior learning and to maximise the opportunities within our local area in order to provide first hand learning experiences that allow our pupils to not only make progress academically, but to also develop life skills. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community and aim to deliver a curriculum that allows pupils to become creative, critical thinkers, develop inter-personal skills, build resilience and  become life-long independent learners. All that we teach is underpinned by Fundamental British Values and our ‘Star Christian Values’.

We regularly provide enhancement opportunities, in and out of school, to engage learners and to promote positive attitudes to learning. We strive to provide a stimulating environment, and a curriculum, that provides opportunities for children to be happy and engaged, provides new experiences and extends knowledge in ways that allows them to develop enquiring minds in order to investigate the world around them.

Children are given opportunities to contribute to their learning with ideas for research in some subjects. They have chosen our core Christian values for this year.

We hope that the impact of our curriculum will be seen not only in attainment and the acquisition of skills and knowledge, but also in the manner in which our pupils conduct themselves as they journey through life. We hope that our pupils leave us as tolerant, caring, confident and polite members of society who understand and respect everybody’s differences and are able to make decisions that will have a positive impact on their community. We celebrate achievements in all areas, not just academic, during our weekly Friday achievement assemblies.

During a normal week all classes cover the following subjects: Computing; Maths; English; History or Geography; Art or Design and Technology; PE; RE; Science; Music and a Modern Foreign Language in KS2. From January 2020 we are re-introducing lessons in PSHE to cover new RSE requirements.

Mathematics

The children work in their classes for Maths and mixed age classes means that we can provide opportunities to support both the most able and those who require some additional time to work on a concept. 

Children in all classes are taught basic arithmetic skills, this includes learning tables, and problem solving activities are built into all areas of the maths curriculum.   

Formal recording of work begins once children in KS1 are confident using numbers and the way this is done is explained to parents by the teachers at consultation evenings or at an open evening to discuss the curriculum. The school has a calculation policy that outlines how maths is recorded. Problem solving activities are built into every maths unit so that children have regular opportunities to use and apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Pupils also have opportunities to use mathematical skills in other curriculum areas, e.g science and D/T.

English

The school teaches English daily and through this the skills of reading and writing are taught.

All children, when they  start school, have different levels in their ability to communicate and understand language. As the ability to express oneself is of vital importance each child is encouraged, from an early stage, to talk to the teacher and others in the the class and also to learn to concentrate and listen when others are talking.

Reading

Great emphasis is placed on an early interest in reading and in developing a love of books.  From their first day in school all children are encouraged to listen to stories, look at books, and take part in making class books. All teachers in all classes read to the children every day. The children are encouraged to select the books they would like to hear in KS1 and Early Years and teachers choose books in KS2 based on their class interests or on a particular topic. All staff encourage children to identify and discuss unfamiliar vocabulary during these reading sessions.

Our reading scheme is organised by using Bookband materials to band the books into groupings that allow the children to use their developing reading skills. In Reception and KS1 books are linked closely to phonics and initially children have opportunities to develop story telling skills through books with no text. They then move on to books that are matched to their developing phonics knowledge. These are the reading books the children will bring home to practice their reading. A partnership of learning between home and school is needed: school to teach skills, home to practise these by a regular sharing of reading books. Once a child has reached a certain level of competence and confidence they read from a wider range of free choice books, which are regularly added to.

As well as teaching the necessary skills for fluent mechanical reading we also teach children how to understand and interpret the nuances of different texts through structured reading comprehension lessons. In Class 1 children learn, through discussion, to retrieve information and make simple predictions. Higher level reading skills, such as inference and deduction, are taught in all other classes on a weekly basis and progress is checked through weekly reading comprehension activities; as children progress through school there is more emphasis on providing detailed written answers. Reading comprehension texts are often matched to the particular genre of writing being studied.

Reading is a cross-curricular activity and the children are given opportunities to extend their reading skills, sight vocabulary and language acquisition in all subjects.

 Writing

Writing skills are also taught and, from emergent writing, the children are encouraged to use writing in other areas of the curriculum as well as in play activities.

Creative writing, in the form of stories and poems, is emphasised throughout the school, and writing skills are taught within and beyond English lessons. Children are taught a cursive style of handwriting from Year 2 onwards.

In the Early Years’ class children have opportunities to write for a purpose and this is usually child initiated.

In all other classes writing planning is done with the teacher; pupils are provided with structured planning ideas and teachers model the different types of writing styles necessary for different genres. Pupils are encouraged to use language they have acquired through reading and teachers also provide word banks as well as using pupil generated ideas and language.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) skills are taught as discrete weekly lessons.

Parents can greatly enhance their child’s reading and writing skills by providing encouragement and interest at home and ensuring that books and reading have a high priority.  A shared story develops your child’s understanding of the written word and how it is used; so please continue to read to your child for as long as you both enjoy it.

Visits to the theatre and having simple theatrical performances in school are also a regular part of the school year.

Computing and ICT

Each class has an hour each week to learn computing and we aim to ensure that pupils also have access to technology at other times in the week so that they can continue to develop basic ICT skills as well. The school has a mix of laptops and tablets so ICT can be used in other subjects. All classrooms are networked and have supervised access to the Internet. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard to enhance lessons in every subject.

The school also has digital cameras, Beebots and iPads.

We use the PurpleMash units of work as our scheme of work to teach lessons in computing.

Science

Wherever possible science is a mixture of whole class teaching and practical activities; opportunities for group work are built into most lessons. The school follows the National Curriculum for science and pupils are encouraged to develop skills of inquiry through all science topics.

 Art, Design and Technology

 Art and design and technology are taught in half termly blocks, with a lesson in either subject once per week. Some art lessons are linked, whenever possible, to topics being covered in other areas. We have designed our D/T curriculum to ensure that products made are meaningful and, wherever possible, have a purpose/use and that the skills acquired will be of use. We are fortunate to have some external help with art lessons.

History and Geography

History and geography are taught in half termly blocks, with both key stages having lessons in either subject once per week. To bring these subjects alive we try to take children to visit sites of interest or bring visitors in to school whenever possible and we also encourage the children to use skills in maths and English within their topic work. We take part in workshop sessions led by local museum staff and these provide opportunities fro the children to view and handle artefacts from the past. We have tried to use our local areas as much as possible so that children can gain first hand experiences.

PE

All pupils in KS1 and KS2 recieve 2 hours of curriculum PE per week.

Swimming is part of our PE curriculum with pupils in Class 3 visiting the swimming pool for one term in the year.  

The school has continued to encourage sports through team games such as tag-rugby, kwik-cricket and football.  Sports tournaments against local schools take place throughout the year. Coaching staff visit school for a range of actvities; this year, in addition to the weekly lessons from Andy, we have coaches booked for tennis, rugby and cricket. School staff work alongside coaches, whenever possible, to develop their skills.

See our PE and Sport page for more details about competitions.

 Music

We have begun to teach music more systematically throughout the school using an online resource, Charanga. All classes aim to teach music at least once per week and we have started to provide some further music tuition, in the form of recorder lessons, for older pupils 

Workshops and concerts by visiting musicians are booked whenever possible. 

We use daily assemblies to introduce pupils to different composers and types of music, and Mrs Douglas explains a little about the composers, their music and the different instruments at our Friday celebration assembly. 

 Homework

 As the children progress through the school the amount of homework will increase.  We will try not to overload; we fully appreciate that they need time to relax too.  Where possible we try to make homework an activity that can be done with your child, particularly in the Early Years and KS1.

Please hear your child read as they may not always be heard regularly in school. Help your child to learn tables, go over them, then ask out of sequence or as a problem to check they really are known. By the end of Year 4 pupils should know all of the tables.

The school expects homework to be done on time unless a parent/carer has given sound reasons to the child’s teacher saying why this was not possible. 

Spellings

Spellings are given weekly from Yr 1 up and we ask that the children learn these in the following way: Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check, so that they cannot see the word as they write it down.

Religious Education

This is taught in accordance with the County Agreed Syllabus, and is of a broadly Christian nature.  The children also study a number of other faiths to help prepare them for their future in our multi-cultural society.

It is a legal requirement that all children have access to knowledge of both Christian and other faiths. Parents have the right of withdrawal if they do not wish their children to participate. If children are withdrawn from either RE or collective worship, they would be supervised by a member of staff in a suitable activity. RE is taught once a week by class teachers.

Relationships, Health and Sex Education

The Governors’ policy on Sex Education in school is that this should be taught as part of the  Science curriculum. It will be treated in a sensitive, but factual way throughout the school.  Lessons will be appropriate to the age of the children being taught.

Parents of Y6 children will be invited into school to see how this area will be taught to their children.

A parent has the right to withdraw their child/children, from Sex education, except that which is part of the National Curriculum for science requirement.

There is no right to withdraw children from health or relationships education. From January 2020 we will be teaching realtionships and health education as part of PSHE lessons. Our policy for this will be available on our policy page.

 Educational Visits

We believe that taking children out of school to gain first hand experience is a valuable way of learning.  These may be taken at any time during the school year and are connected to the work the children are doing at the time.  Parental permission is obtained for any journey. A voluntary contribution towards such visits is usually requested. We take pupils in Years 5/6 on residential visits to an outdoor activity centre.

Involving Parents

In Nursery and Year Reception parents are able to view and comment on their child’s day to day progress and learning through Tapestry. To access this, please speak to Mrs Stephenson and she will provide the link and your own password.

All pupils in other classes use a web based learning platform called Purple Mash and pupils are able to access this at home using their own individual password and they can share their work with parents if they wish.